From 1927 to 1930, the Princess attended lectures at Leiden University. During this time she lived with a number of other women students in Katwijk. She chose her subjects partly to prepare her for her duties as Head of State, and partly to satisfy her personal interest in literature and religion. She joined the Women Students' Association and took an active part in a wide range of undergraduate activities. Her studies were crowned with the award of an honorary doctorate in literature and philosophy, her sponsor being the renowned historian Johan Huizinga. On leaving university, Princess Juliana acquired her own secretariat in her palace on the Kneuterdijk. Though she was not yet involved in matters of State, she represented the Royal House at many official events.
Princess Juliana's engagement to His Serene Highness Prince Bernhard of Lippe Biesterfeld was announced on the 8th September 1936 and they were married on the 7th January 1937, the date on which Princess Juliana's grandparents, King William III and Queen Emma, had married fifty-eight years earlier. A most remarkable and glittering event, the civil ceremony was held in The Hague Town Hall and the marriage was blessed in the Great Church (St. Jacobskerk), likewise in The Hague. The couple travelled together on the Golden State Coach in between ceremonies and later appeared on the balcony of Noordeinde Palace. The young couple made their home at Soestdijk Palace, Baarn.
Four daughters were born to Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard: HRH Princess Beatrix (1938), HRH Princess Irene (1939), HRH Princess Margriet (1943) and HRH Princess Christina (1947). All the princesses were born at Soestdijk Palace, with the exception of Princess Margriet, who was born in Ottawa, Canada, during the war. The German invasion on the 10th May 1940 forced TRH the Prince and Princess and their two daughters to leave the Netherlands for the United Kingdom; the Princess remained there for a month before taking the children to Canada, where she lived in Rockcliffe, a suburb of Ottawa, until the Netherlands was liberated. Prince Bernhard, who remained in London with HM Queen Wilhelmina, was able to visit his family in Canada on several occasions. During the war, the Princess visited Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.
In April 1945 she returned with HM Queen Wilhelmina to the liberated part of the Netherlands, settling in Breda. After the German capitulation in May 1945, the Princess took part in various relief operations to help the victims of the occupation. For several weeks in the autumn of 1947 and again in 1948 the Princess acted as Regent when, for health reasons, HM Queen Wilhelmina was unable to perform her duties. In 1948 the Queen announced her intention to abdicate and, on the 4th September 1948, HRH Princess Juliana assumed the royal prerogative, just before being presented by her mother from the balcony of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. The new royal couple and their daughters travelled in open carriages through Amsterdam. Two days later, on 6 September, Princess Juliana's investiture as Queen of the Netherlands took place in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Dressed in the ermine trimmed robe of crimson velvet and wearing a diamond-embroidered bonnet, as well as a most amazing diamond and ruby stomacher and a matching necklace, the Queen arrived at the church with Prince Bernhard and swore allegiance to the Constitution inside. Afterwards there was a new cortege through the city, this time in the Golden State Coach.
In the first year of her reign, it was principally the Indonesian question that claimed Queen Juliana's attention. In 1949, she signed the documents transferring sovereignty to Indonesia in the Royal Palace on the Dam Square in Amsterdam. On 15 December 1954 Queen Juliana gave her assent to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which formed the basis for cooperation between the three remaining parts of the Kingdom: the Netherlands, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. Suriname became an independent republic in 1975 after the Queen signed the Act transferring sovereignty to the Republic of Suriname. During her reign, Queen Juliana showed a very great interest in social issues. She made frequent visits to hospitals, convalescent centres, sanatoria, homes for the elderly and children's homes. On the international front, she was particularly interested in the problems of developing countries, the refugee problem and child welfare throughout the world.
The Queen also provided financial and material support. When she and Prince Bernhard celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 1962, they donated both land and funds to make possible the establishment of youth centres throughout the Netherlands. On her Silver Jubilee in 1973, she presented the large sum of money that had been raised by the National Silver Jubilee Committee to organisations for children in need throughout the world. Queen Juliana decided that the gift from the nation which she received on her seventieth birthday in 1979 should be donated to the International Year of the Child. The Queen gave her name to the Queen Juliana Foundation, later renamed the Juliana Welfare Fund. The aim of the Fund, which merged with the Orange Fund on 27 June 2002, is to improve social welfare and encourage social cohesion. In recognition of her services to society, Queen Juliana was awarded an honorary doctorate in the social sciences at Groningen University in 1964.
Queen Juliana closely followed developments in science and the arts, in particular in the visual arts, the theatre and literature. She took a great personal interest in the allocation of the annual Royal Grant for Painting. She frequently visited exhibitions and attended the theatre both at home and abroad. The Queen's birthdays on 30 April were always celebrated with a parade of flowers at Soestdijk Palace.
In radio and television broadcasts on the 31st January 1980, HM Queen Juliana announced that she would abdicate on the 30th April in favour of her daughter, HRH Princess Beatrix. In her speech, she expressed the hope that she could continue to serve the country after her abdication. She became Honorary Chair of the National Committee of the International Year of the Handicapped in 1981 and continued to pay frequent visits to care institutions. In 1983, Princess Juliana (as she was then officially styled) and Prince Bernhard went to the Netherlands Antilles to visit the projects which were financed from the money presented to the Princess as a gift on her seventieth birthday. Since the early 1990s, Queen Juliana gradually withdrew from public life.
The death of HM Queen Juliana of The Netherlands on the 20th March 2004 (known in the last 24 years of her life as Princess Juliana) is regarded by the Dutch people as bringing with it the end of an era. At the age of 94 years Queen Juliana died leaving behind a most remarkable life that one can hardly review on these few, short lines. The Glittering Royal Events would like, nevertheless, to pay tribute to the great royal lady that has now passed away and we chose to do so by displaying forty pictures of Her Majesty. This memorial website is a non-professional tribute to Queen Juliana and would not have been possible without the help of several friends whom we would like to thank: Volker Liepert, whose contribution to this website was vital, as always; Marianne Teerink and Ursula Butschal for their generous help with the pictures that compose this memorial site.
Before inviting you to go through our humble and simple pictorial tribute to Queen Juliana we would like to make two more references. We would like to dedicate this website to the memory of Her late Majesty but also to the outstanding dedication of Oscar Meijer to the late Queen. Known throughout the Netherlands as one of the greatest supporters of the Dutch Royal Family, he was the first responsible for the idea of this website and we would like to pay tribute to him and his dedication to the Oranjes as well. As such, we open this website on the day of Her Majesty Queen Juliana’s funeral, hoping that she will rest in peace.
30th March 2004, the Editors